The Problem with EvolutionFrom The Science of Spirituality
1a – The Problem with Evolution
Darwin’s Theory of Evolution
The next paragraph was inspired by a television commercial featuring a cell phone that forms, by erosion and abrasion, from a piece of rock that crashed into the Earth millions of years ago.
It got me thinking… If someone did find a cell phone on the beach amongst the pebbles, they wouldn’t believe that the forces of nature had made it; they would assume that someone had dropped it there by accident. No one in their right mind would ever think that it formed naturally out of the metals and minerals that are naturally present within the Earth. No one would believe that a series of random events over millions of years could possibly produce something as complex as a phone. Yet many people do believe that a series of random events over millions of years produced the human race, and we are infinitely more complex than a phone! How is it that people believe that a phone must have a designer and a maker but that a human being doesn’t? To design something as intricate, as complex and as intelligent as a human being obviously requires intelligence; it is too far-fetched to believe that we could come about by chance.
In their book Evolution from Space, astronomers Sir Fred Hoyle and Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe calculated that the odds of randomly producing the required enzymes for a simple living cell were 1 in 1040,000. Since the number of atoms in the known universe is only 1080, they argued that even a whole universe full of “primordial soup” wouldn’t stand a chance. Hoyle also compared the random emergence of the simplest cell to the likelihood that “a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein.”
The theory of evolution has nothing to do with any guiding intelligence. It is based upon random mutations and survival of the fittest – i.e. a genetic mutation occurs, and if it is beneficial the organism prospers, but if it is detrimental the organism struggles, and the mutation dies out along with the organism. It sounds like a reasonable theory for explaining how small changes occur, e.g. to gradually adapt to changing environmental conditions. But it completely fails to address how complex bodily systems and structures form or how life began in the first place. Mutations are generally associated with detrimental effects like cancer and radiation sickness, not with intelligent design or positive evolution. They add chaos to a system; not order. Random mutations quite clearly did not give rise to human beings.
We have powerful computers that can process vast amounts of data in the blink of an eye, yet without the correct software to run them they are useless piles of junk. It is the software that makes a computer useful, but software is not intelligent. Software is more akin to instinct in that it does what it is programmed to do. The only intelligence in computers comes from the designers of the software and hardware; they have none of their own. We cannot produce a computer that is self aware or capable of abstract thought, because it is impossible for us to produce something more intelligent than ourselves. The same applies to nature – in order to produce us it must be more intelligent than us. And it clearly is because nature can re-grow a severed limb on a lizard, which is something medical science can’t replicate. So how does nature do it? How does it achieve these miracles and wonders if it doesn’t have any intelligence?
Supporters of evolution think they can explain the whole progression of life on Earth by breaking everything down into little steps, but that doesn’t explain great leaps such as how life began in the first place, or evolution between the mineral, plant, animal and human kingdoms. They can’t explain how self-consciousness evolved, how emotions evolved, how dreams evolved, or how our sense of humour evolved, because these faculties have no bearing on survival of the fittest. It could be argued that strong emotions prevent us from thinking logically and are therefore detrimental, so why have they survived the evolutionary process? The fact that we do have emotions, dreams and a sense of humour means they must exist for another purpose; one that exceeds mere survival; one that is based upon experiential growth and evolution of the “soul”.
The Complexity of Life
There is no evidence for life based on chance, but there is overwhelming evidence for life based on design. Michael Denton, in his book Evolution: A theory in Crisis, provides an analogy which gives us some idea of the complexity of the human brain: “Altogether the total number of connections in the human brain approaches 1015 or a thousand million million. Numbers in the order of 1015 are of course completely beyond comprehension. Imagine an area about half the size of the USA (one million square miles) covered in a forest of trees containing ten thousand trees per square mile. If each tree contained one hundred thousand leaves the total number of leaves in the forest would be 1015, equivalent to the number of connections in the human brain.”
Denton continues with another analogy to give us an idea of the complexity of a “simple” cell: “Altogether a typical cell contains about ten million million atoms. Suppose we choose to build an exact replica to a scale one thousand million times that of the cell so that each atom of the model would be the size of a tennis ball. Constructing such a model at the rate of one atom per minute, it would take fifty million years to finish, and the object we would end up with would be […] twenty kilometres in diameter, with a volume thousands of times that of the Great Pyramid.” All the evidence shows that life is far too complex to have evolved by chance – there had to be some element of intelligence in the design for life.
Professor Ervin Laszlo, in this highly acclaimed book Science and the Akashic Field, states: “We have seen that the oldest rocks date from about 4 billion years ago, while the earliest and already highly complex forms of life – blue-green algae and bacteria – are over three and a half billion years old. Creating these life-forms required a coordinated and complex series of reactions, where missing but a single step would have led to a dead end. A random mixing of the ‘molecular soup’ in the shallow primeval seas is unlikely to have accomplished this feat in the available time span. But the mixing of the molecules on the surface of the primeval Earth was not purely random: it was informed by the traces of already evolved life! Evidently, these traces were not those of life on Earth, since we are speaking of the earliest beginnings of biological evolution on this planet. They were the traces of life on other planets. The ‘informational seeding’ of biological evolution on Earth is entirely plausible.”
Just as subatomic particles can communicate with each other over vast distances (as if they were one), Laszlo suggests that life-forms which had already evolved on other planets provided nature with blueprints that allowed life to evolve so rapidly here on Earth – far more rapidly than would have been possible by chance alone. In fact half a billion years is insufficient time for bacteria and algae to evolve purely by chance, especially given that it involves building DNA molecules consisting of 100,000 nucleotides, each of which is composed of 40 or 50 atoms. Laszlo uses the simple analogy involving a Rubik’s Cube to demonstrate how effective information is at reducing the timescale of an otherwise random event. If a blind man is given a scrambled up Rubik’s Cube and he makes one move per second, it will take him 126 billion years to unscramble the cube by chance alone. But if the blind man receives some basic help in the form of a simple “yes” or “no” after making each move, he will unscramble the cube in about 120 moves!
The Cambrian Explosion was a period of rapid evolutionary progress that occurred about 540 million years ago. Science can’t explain the rapid diversification of multi-cellular animal life that occurred during that brief 25 million year period and resulted in the appearance of almost all modern animal phyla. So not only is life far too complex to have evolved on its own, there was also not enough time for it to do so unless it received some intelligent guidance. Intelligent design, be it from “God” or from life elsewhere in the universe, is the only explanation that can account for the diversity, complexity and rapid emergence of life of Earth.
Perfectly Balanced Universe
The creation of the universe was so finely balanced that it was unlikely to have occurred by chance alone. If the expansion rate of the early universe was just a trillionth of one percent higher than it was, the universe would have expanded too rapidly for solid matter to form. If the expansion rate had been just a trillionth of a percent less than it was, the universe would have collapsed back in on itself very quickly. In either case there would be no stars, no planets and no life. But supposing it did result purely by chance, it certainly wouldn’t have been spot on the first time, in which case we can assume that the universe kept trying again and again until it reached perfect balance. Here we have a similar situation to the Rubik’s cube scenario previously mentioned, whereby trillions and trillions of attempts would be required to get it right. Unless the universe could somehow learn from its mistakes – then it would be able to achieve success much more quickly and easily. This scenario suggests that the universe must either be self-consciousness or have been designed by some absolute intelligence that exists beyond the universe.
The eminent mathematical physicist Sir Roger Penrose calculated the chances of a life-supporting universe happening by chance to be 1 in 1010^123. Let me try to put that number into perspective: 1010^3 is a 1 followed by a thousand zeros, 1010^6 is a 1 followed by a million zeros and 1010^9 is a 1 followed by billion zeros. These numbers are practically impossible to imagine, but 1010^123 is so big that it is totally inconceivable to the human mind. So with odds of only 1 in 1010^123 it can be said with absolute certainty that a life-supporting universe could never happen by chance. But to realise that the universe is not the product of coincidence we don’t really need calculations at all. We just need to look around and reflect on the perfection inherent in life, the universe and everything. If life only exists biologically where do thoughts, feelings and emotions come from? Their very existence seems to imply that there is more to life than just biology, that there is more to life than just survival. If life has no higher purpose, why does it strive to go on, and why did it even begin in the first place? Life is not an accident – it is on purpose!